Our mum

Hattie and her mum

On 19 June 2021 at 8:30am, our mum lost her battle with ovarian cancer. She had been diagnosed 8 months previously, and had undergone 2 surgeries and one round of aggressive chemo.

It was a whirlwind of emotions during that 8 months – grief, sadness and most crippling of all, fear. Fear of life without my mum, fear of what would happen during her treatment, fear of how to look after her. I was so scared and I couldn’t even fathom what life could look like without her in it. And yet, here we were – facing it head on. Me, and my my two sisters, and our beautiful, strong and optimistic mum.

Mum’s death was all at once a tragedy and a relief. She had been so unwell for what felt like so long, and she was so full of drugs that she wasn’t really conscious anymore. This is how she had wanted it – she had told the wonderful district nurse, Jill, that she wanted to “slip and slide away”. This was mum in a nutshell, no bother and no fuss. She was an excellent woman.

In her last few moments, I kissed her – and she breathed again – “THE KISS OF LIFE!”, I exclaimed. Me and my sisters all giggled, and I hope mum could have heard the sound of laughter in her final moments. If she could have laughed, I know she would have.

When she died, I was totally baffled. How could I still be here, when she wasn’t? How was the world still spinning? How had this actually happened? No amount of preparation or goodbyes, or hugs or kisses can prepare you for that moment. But yet, here it was. My mum had died.

And, at the same time, I was so relieved for her. She was a Christian woman, and death didn’t scare her. For, as she believed it, this lifetime was just the beginning. In fact, about 18 months later, my sister found a hand-written note in her bible – “to the Christian, death is but a change in address”. I can’t imagine how comforting that belief would be. I’m not sure what I believe yet, but I hope I can find that peace one day – whether it’s through a belief in God, or just some inner peace.

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